Launch of first trade body for ski postponed

Launch of first trade body for ski postponed

The launch of the first UK trade association for the ski and mountain industry has been postponed after it failed to garner enough support.

The proposed Active Mountain Association, which was due to launch on September 1, aimed to do the same for the sector as the Passenger Shipping Association did for cruise.

Founders Peter Stratton, head of trade liaison for governing body Snow Sport England and managing director of Simpson Recruitment, and tourism consultant Bénédicte Lapeyrere, wanted to use the body to set up a training programme for agents, raise consumer awareness of mountain holidays and combat misconceptions about skiing holidays.

Stratton said the idea had attracted support from some independent tour operators but the large operators had failed to get behind it.

“Although everyone recognised the need for what we proposed, when it came to paying for it, some suppliers said they didn’t have the funds,” he said.

“We have drawn a blank with the large operators but we’d like to continue talking to them.”

Simon Cross, managing director of Crystal Ski, part of Tui UK, maintained not enough time had been spent discussing what form the association would take. “I don’t think we had seen enough on this idea to form an opinion but we are open to discussions.”

Stratton, who hopes to resurrect the idea next year, warned: “If we don’t do something, there won’t be a ski industry in five years. The average skier is now 45-50 and school ski trips are dying out.”

This week the Crystal Ski Industry Report 2012 reported a 1.8% year-on-year fall in skiers to 894,700 for 2011-12, down from a peak of 1.2 million in 2007-08. The biggest drop was in the schools and student market, down 4.1% to 117,700 skiers.

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